The assorted rantings of Daniel Sieradski

Re: Tablet’s “Letter From an Angry Black Woman”

Posted on July 28, 2014

Dear Ms. Valdary:

  • If you think that supporting Palestinian independence is equivalent to calling for an Islamic caliphate, you are a bigot and a fool.
  • If you think that support for Palestinian independence is equivalent to support for Arab supremacism, you are a bigot and a fool.
  • If you think that defending the right of Palestinians to resist their oppression is equivalent to the lionization and valorization of Hamas, you are willfully misrepresenting the position of those who accede to Palestinian armed resistance. I can only wonder what your thoughts are on Nat Turner.
  • If you think that identifying the discrepancy in casualties between Israelis and Palestinians is equivalent to “grieving” over the failure of Hamas to kill more Jews, that’s just obnxious and you being an asshole.
  • If Jewish campus groups did not see their primary role as defenders of Israel and its indefensible policies, and if their institutions weren’t engaged in efforts to censor professors and campus groups who are critical of Israel, than Jewish students would likely not be on the receiving end of recrimination from Arab and Muslim students.
  • If you think that opposing imperialism — ie., defending the principle that it is not the place of Western nations to remake the world in their image nor to impose their policies and leaders onto the rest of the world — is the same as defending murderous regimes that brutalize their own people, you are being obtuse and once again, are pretty much an asshole.
  • If you think that opposing the illegal settlement enterprise and supporting a Palestinian state free from settlers is equivalent to denying Jews freedom and equality, you clearly know nothing of the Geneva Conventions. Transferring your population into occupied territory is a war crime.
  • If you think that Palestinian frustration and anger after 66 years of oppression and 48 years of occupation cannot be justified and that all acts of Palestinian violence are fundamentally acts of racist evil, you’re not particularly realistic or self-honest. You likely would have declared the raid on Harper’s Ferry an act of racist terror.
  • That Rosa Parks and other black leaders supported Jewish self-determination in the 1970s does not mean they would support each and all of Israel’s policies or actions today. If it’s wrong for Palestinian solidarity activists to invoke dead civil rights leaders in defense of their agenda, so too is it wrong for Israel solidarity activists to do the same.

Fisking JFNA & the JCPA on BDS

Posted on March 15, 2014

On Tuesday, JTA published an op-ed coauthored by Jerry Silverman of the Jewish Federations of North America and Rabbi Steve Gutow of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs describing the threat of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement to Israel and the efforts of their organizations to counter that threat.

I resent having to provide this disclaimer every time the issue of BDS is broached, but here goes, because I don’t want to hear about it later: Though I don’t support a boycott of Israel in its entirety, I do support the boycott of Israeli and international businesses which operate in the occupied territories, occupation-complicit Israeli officials and institutions, and avowed Jewish nationalist extremists. I also support soldiers who refuse to serve in the occupied territories, and Israeli NGOs which report on and legally challenge Israel’s human rights abuses.

I used to call myself a Zionist. I cannot any longer because of the increasingly rightward tilt of the community. I’m still a supporter of the two state solution, but I’m growing more sympathetic to the argument for one state, mostly because I do not see two states coming to pass due to the intransigence of Israel’s government, and because I’m extremely skeptical of Israel’s commitment to the rights of its Arab citizens. That’s why I’m neither hostile to BDS nor supportive of the Jewish community’s efforts to marginalize BDS supporters, and why, when I read Silverman and Gutow’s op-ed, I couldn’t help but find myself either incredulous or incensed at every line.

What follows, therefore, is a proper fisking.